Dodgers infielder Max Muncy missed the 2021 postseason after suffering a ligament tear in his left elbow at the end of the regular season, but the slugger tells David Vassegh of Dodger Talk on AM 570 that he expects to be ready to go whenever the 2022 season can finally begin (link includes audio of the full 13-minute interview). Muncy has already begun swinging a bat and says his rehab has been “progressing well.”
“I’m getting more time to get healthy,” says Muncy in reference to the ongoing MLB lockout, “but I’m not able to work with my guys on the [Dodgers’] staff. I can’t even talk to them, really. I’d probably be getting better treatment if I was getting worked on by them, but that’s just the unfortunate circumstances. It does give me a chance to get healthy, but I’m not getting the full extent of what I could be getting. I think even before the lockout, it was looking like I was going to be possibly ready for Opening Day. I think we’re still on that track right now.”
Although Muncy suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament, he adds that Tommy John was “never really on the table for me,” as every doctor who evaluated him agreed that surgery wasn’t necessary. Muncy notes that the injury was “really bad news, but it was the best bad news can get.”
A healthy Muncy is a vital piece to the Dodgers’ lineup — particularly now that Corey Seager has departed via free agency. The 31-year-old Muncy turned in a .249/.368/.527 batting line last season while notching new career-high marks in home runs (36), doubles (26) and plate appearances (592). With Seager now in Texas and Cody Bellinger in need of a rebound following a disastrous 2021 season, Muncy has become the Dodgers’ most reliable source of left-handed power.
Of course, the rumors connecting the Dodgers to Freddie Freeman have only increased throughout the offseason, and Muncy was more than happy to voice his support for that hypothetical match.
“Imagine how dangerous we’d be if we get him in that lineup,” said Muncy. “It makes me really excited. Maybe it’s not as much first base [for me], but I think I’ve told you several times I enjoy playing second base more. If we get the DH, that’s going to be a rotating position. We’re not going to have one set DH, so that’s a way we can utilize it — to get people off their feet and get them rest days without getting them out of the lineup. I don’t think we’ll have a set DH, but that just means we’ll be rotating all around the field, and that, to me, is when it’s really fun.”
Slotting Freeman into the heart of the order would likely mean more multi-position work for the likes of Muncy, Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux. With the expected implementation of the universal designated hitter, any of those names could see some time at DH, as could third base stalwart Justin Turner. Muncy and Taylor both have a good bit of experience at the hot corner, and Lux notched one game there last year as well (in addition to getting his feet wet in the outfield). It’s all hypotheticals for now, although the general expectation is that whenever the lockout lifts, Freeman will act quickly in choosing his next destination.